From prison to entrepreneur, Miracle McGlown is an inspiration to Flint

From prison to entrepreneur, Miracle McGlown is an inspiration to Flint

FLINT, MI — His day typically starts at 6:30 a.m. working street maintenance in the city of Flint, cleaning streets and sidewalks.

Her day typically ends around 11 p.m., handcrafting luggage, handbags, crossbody bags, wallets and more.

His name is Miracle McGlown – a Flint native who received a “miracle” clemency from former President Barack Obama that allowed him to pursue his dreams.

Soft-spoken McGlown, 41, has lived two different lives.

Before 2008, he was on the streets, with the wrong people, which eventually led to a 20-year prison sentence for drug conspiracy.

After his release in 2008, McGlown got his life together, started working, and recently launched his own website, 1:Eleven, where he said quality can’t be found anywhere else.

“I bring a fresh perspective to fashion,” he said.

The term “1:11” has meaning as a sign of angelic guidance that signifies that a chapter in your life is coming to an end and you are ready for something new. McGlown formed a close relationship with God in prison and credits him for her turnaround.

His birthday also falls on January 11.

McGlown’s journey to entrepreneurship began in prison. She was offered to take a craft class around 2011, teaching the basics of belt making.

Everything from sewing leather to punching holes was taught, without sewing machines.

“It’s just one of those things where I took a negative and turned it into a positive,” he said. “It was difficult to get into the class, but if they saw that you took things seriously, there was a better chance that you would get in.”

McGlown discovered his talent when he started making handbags, adding his own style to them, and caught the attention of his teacher.

“My teacher started laughing and said you got it,” he said.

In prison, McGlown made a schoolbag for her daughter and drew her name “Leilani” in the middle.

“Everyone from the prisoners to the guards asked ‘How did you do that?’ “, he said.

After becoming a free man, McGlown started making bags just for his family, then he expanded into selling bags to various people.

This month, he hosted his website grand opening inside Flint’s Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, showcasing his bags.

It can take up to three weeks to make a bag, but a double-patch bag takes McGlown about three months.

“I design bags that no one has seen before,” he said.

Flint is known for its high crime rate and poor economic development. McGlown roamed the streets of Flint for many years, directionless, and had no success.

In many ways, his sentence at the FCI Elkton prison in Ohio saved his life by getting him off the streets.

“I’ve never had a job in my life,” he said.

When Obama granted clemency to McGlown on January 17, 2017, he held the record for the most daily use of clemency power, granting 330 commutations, during his last full day in office.

He wrote a letter to Obama about 50 times and was refused twice.

McGlown saw the news on CNN and the manager asked if he wanted to accept clemency.

“Fourth quarter, last second on the clock, I put my faith in God as always,” he said.

As the father of three children to Nevaeh, Leilani, and Miracle Jr., McGlown supports his wife Dominique Strong through his nonprofit organization Umo Strong Marshall Outreach in any way he can.

When he finally lowers his head after 11 p.m., that’s when the creative genius really begins.

With over 100 bags made in its lifetime, the best is yet to come.

“My best ideas come when I’m lying in bed,” McGlown said.

Follow McGlown’s company online at

Read more on The Flint Diary:

Local charity offers free clothes to give back to Flint community

Two Flint sisters meet in private with Pope Francis

Local charity offers free clothes to give back to Flint community

Parade, fireworks planned for Linden holiday celebration

Volunteers sought to lay wreaths at the Great Lakes National Cemetery

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